On 28 May the streets of Greater Manchester will be full of song as residents join together to create one of the largest community led choirs in the world - broadcast live to audiences via YouTube.
Residents of Greater Manchester are being called on to open their windows and take to their doorsteps for 'Together In One Voice', a mass sing-a-long which will harness the power of music to connect their communities and bring them together in these challenging times.
Civic leaders are asking local people to join in the one-off event at 7:30 pm on Thursday 28 May that will see famous faces join locals in a thirty minute virtual sing-song from the streets of the city region.
The event will be live-streamed for audiences via YouTube as part of Manchester International Festival's on-line programme MIF LIVE. Residents will be able to join their neighbours from their windows, on their doorsteps, and in their streets as they all sing along together to a special soundtrack of songs curated by Musical Director Dan McDwyer.
McDwyer will also be conducting a series of on-line rehearsals to enable people to come together and get pitch perfect in advance of the event and to learn the songs and harmonies. These will start from this Friday 15 May.
Greater Manchester residents who want to get their whole street involved can also nominate their streets to be filmed during the event for a special film that is being made on the night and that will be shown on-line a few days later.
Streets and residents wishing to be filmed on the night of the event can nominate their streets at togethermcr.com or by emailing contact@togethermcr.
Together In One Voice will capture a moment in time when communities across Greater Manchester come together for a shared activity that it's hoped will contribute to people's well-being and will help combat feelings of isolation, depression, and other mental health challenges.
Led by Manchester City Council working with Social Enterprise, the event is being supported by each of the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester, as well as Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, and Chair of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: "‘It will be some time before we can hold mass events in our centres again so to make up for this Together In One Voice has been designed to reach out to the furthest outposts of our Greater Manchester community and deliver an event direct to your doorstep.
"We all know the uplifting power of music and song, and we hope that by joining in with this, we will all - even for a short time - be able to feel more connected to our neighbours, our communities, and the city region that we all love and miss."
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: "I am incredibly proud of the way people in Greater Manchester have responded to the current crisis – we have come together to look after each other, as we always do in tough times, and I hope we will be stronger and more together coming out of this.
“To that end, I am pleased to throw my full support behind the amazing Together in One Voice event. This one evening will unite Greater Manchester in song and give voice to the strong sense of community spirit we all feel. It will be an opportunity to remember those we have lost and thank those whose dedicated work has helped carry us through. I hope it will give everybody a lift as we begin to emerge from this challenging time and a renewed sense of hope for the better times that lie ahead.”
Councillor David Greenhalgh, Leader of Bolton Council and GMCA Lead for Culture, said: “Looking after our mental health in this period and beyond is going to be key as it is our neighbours and local communities who will be a vital part of building our recovery. So we encourage everyone to join us in song on the evening of Thursday 28 May and to show once again Greater Manchester’s enduring community spirit and shared creativity in challenging times.”
Video content captured by local residents from their streets on 28 May, along with footage captured by official film cameras and drones out in the city region during the sing-a-long, and interviews with music artists taking part, will be edited together to produce a record of this Greater Manchester moment, which will be broadcast on-line on Sunday 31 May.
Event Director Rose Marley said: "We’re inviting everyone in Greater Manchester to join in and send us their photos and videos as they take part in the event from their doorsteps on the 28 May. But we are also especially keen to hear now from streets that would like to be featured in our film of the event that will be broadcast on 31 May so that we can organise filming and socially distanced interviews in advance.
"We know Greater Mancunians love their music and singing so we're expecting them to come out in force on the day. We're also expecting some very special guest appearances from a few surprise faces who are scheduled to join us on the evening and lead us into songs."
The idea of connecting people to each other and using the power of music and song to support emotional well-being during these unprecedented times - that have seen everyone affected in some way - is central to the event which is being supported by Co-op.
Matt Atkinson, Chief Membership Officer at Co-op said: “As a northern brand, Greater Manchester will always have a special place in our Co-op heart and as a business we actively support the mental and physical wellbeing of our communities. At times like these it’s important we come together and bring a little joy to those around us and this event is a great way to lift the spirits of the city region and say thanks to those that are working tirelessly on the frontline in our fight against coronavirus – including our own colleagues. As one the largest employers in the region, we will be encouraging all of our colleagues and customers to get involved and have a singalong.”